Founded in 1985 as a family-run bike shop in a small Northern Ireland village, Chain Reaction now offers a range of 90,000 bikes and accessories, giving strength to its claim to be the world’s largest online bike store. With customers in 100 countries, the firm has recently invested £2m in automating its packing line to process its 6,000 daily orders, which it aims to dispatch on the same day. A worldwide resurgence in cycling’s popularity helped sales grow 66% a year, from £23.9m in 2007 to £109.4m in 2010 under managing director Chris Watson. The company has the second-biggest profits on the league table and healthy margins. Earlier this year, the business was the victim of credit-card fraud, but it responded quickly to address customers’ concerns.
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